OSWEGO, NY – In the wake of lingering questions and concerns by the public and some aldermen, the Common Council voted 4-3 Monday night to table a resolution regarding the purchase of the International Marina from the Port Authority.
Council President Dan Donovan and councilors Mike Myers, Shawn Walker and Bill Sharkey voted in favor of tabling the resolution.
An amendment to the resolution to purchase the International Marina for $2.1 million was made by Councilor Connie Cosemento and seconded by Councilor Ron Kaplewicz.
According to the resolution:
- The port releases the city from its obligation to pay half the sale price of the former Flexo Wire property
- The city releases the port from any monetary claim with respect to the East First Street project
- The port releases the city from any claims it might have against the city for additional cost of a new wall for the east side marina.
According to the amendment, the purchase would be contingent on the city’s ability to find appropriate financing at a rate that is acceptable to the city.
“The council wants some more information. So, we’ll see what more information they wants and go from there,” Mayor Randy Bateman said following the meeting.
“People are just bombarding me with questions,” Donovan added. “They are asking about the cost and other issues. The council wants to get more information; we want to get answers to all the questions before we continue forward with this.”
“Don’t get me wrong. I am for the project. I think we need it. It’s ours, we should have it,” he continued. “We just have to wait and see for another week or so until we get more information.”
It’s assessed for $960,000; but that is an old assessment, Donovan noted.
Some of the speakers during the public session were in favor of the purchase. Others were opposed.
Dave White asked the councilors, “What’s the rush? I don’t understand why this has to be done right now.”
“If (the Port) wants to put this out and see if anyone wants to buy it, then let them put it out and see what it goes for,” White continued. “I don’t believe it’s going to go for $2.1.”
He urged the council table it and get more information before acting on the resolution.
“Table this thing and get more information out to people and see how people actually feel about this thing,” he said. “Get a bigger input from the community. All it did was go through a committee and then its here (on the council floor). I don’t think this is a real good deal right now.”
The city has, over the years, given away its riverfront and lakefront to entrepreneurs, Gail Goebricher pointed out.
“The city can not afford not to buy this property,” she said. “Things aren’t that great right now. But, they are going to turn around.”
The Port City doesn’t even have a beach, she said, adding, “That’s pretty insulting when you think about it.”
Mike Goldych agreed.
The event that each summer draws thousands to the city’s waterfront was named Harborfest because it celebrates Oswego’s greatest natural resource, he pointed out.
“Without the harbor, we wouldn’t be here,” he added.
The harbor is the reason Oswego was founded and flourished, he said. It’s also the reason for the canal being built and other things, he continued.
“I encourage you to move forward with this,” he said. “It’s the right thing to do.”
The marina would generate revenue for the city, Cosemento said.
Last year, due to the bad economy, it was expected that revenues from the city’s Wright’s Landing Marina would take a nosedive, she said.
“What we expected to happen, didn’t happen. We made more money than expected,” she pointed out.
Over the last six or seven months, there has been a lot of discussion about the possibility of buying the marina, Kaplewicz said.
“If we miss this opportunity, we haven’t done of jobs,” he added.
Myers was still concerned about how long it would take for the city to break even on the deal.
“How long will it take to make this money back?” he asked, adding that he’s received numerous phone calls from constituents wondering the same thing.
He said he wants to get the figure “and be able to call people back (with the information) before I sit here and vote on it.”